kitchen table math, the sequel: Trick sentence

Wednesday, August 13, 2014

Trick sentence

Still on the clock, so I've only time to admire some sentences in the morning paper before I go write some of my own. Here's today's:

"With an insinuating pose and a seductive, throaty voice — her simplest remark sounded like a jungle mating call, one critic said — Ms. Bacall shot to fame in 1944 with her first movie, Howard Hawks’s adaptation of the Ernest Hemingway novel “To Have and Have Not,” playing opposite Humphrey Bogart, who became her lover on the set and later her husband."

That sentence is a little essay unto itself: a sentence-combining tour de force!

The September before last, I gave a department talk on precision teaching, and when I distributed a handout showing the number of subject-verb-[object] propositions a Times reporter had stuffed into just one fully readable sentence (17, as I recall), a couple of people were appalled. 

One said the Times has....hmmm. I'm forgetting the story now. 

Something like: the Times has some kind of widely circulating internal memo that lists the day's bad sentences so as to subject them to public shaming.

He said my 17-proposition pick should have made the list.


Doug Sundseth said...

If you haven't been reading the After Deadline section of the NYT, it's worth a look:

I don't necessarily agree with all of their choices, but they're consistent in their house style.

Catherine Johnson said...

Hi, Doug!!

Fantastic to hear from you!